Tiny and pink to fluffy and orange!
When any baby squirrel is this small, pink and helpless, it's virtually impossible to tell if they'll grow up to be a gray Western Gray Squirrel, a brown Eastern Gray or an orange-tinted Fox Squirrel.
The homeowner who found them said she had both Fox Squirrels and Eastern Gray Squirrels in her yard, so we understood they could be either.
We knew that they were squirrels, and that they definitely needed help.
Their nest had been cut from a tree by a tree trimmer who didn't check for nests before cutting.
The nest plummeted to the ground, leaving the baby squirrels helpless and squeaking in the dirt. All three babies had significant bruising when they arrived at WildCare.
WildCare's friends on Facebook have watched these babies grow up in a series of "Squirrel Thursday" livestreams showcasing them (reproduced here).
Be sure to "like" WildCare's Facebook page to see wonderful photos, enjoy entertaining videos like these and more! facebook.com/WildCareBayArea
A WildCare Squirrel Foster Care Team member, Rachel, volunteered to take the tiny babies home and give them the specialized (and exhausting!) care they would need to survive being orphaned at such a young age.
For the first few nights, these baby squirrels were fed every TWO HOURS, around the clock. Getting them accustomed to the special squirrel formula on which they would be raised in our care is always a challenge, especially when the babies are newborn, and the frequent feedings are necessary to give them enough calories and hydration.
Fortunately, after the initial few nights, Rachel could go to feeding her charges every three hours. That must have felt like a comparative luxury!
Fast forward nearly three weeks, and it's obvious these orphaned squirrels have done very well in care.
In the video above you can see they now have fur, their eyes are almost ready to open (baby squirrels open their eyes for the first time at about four weeks of age) and they're silky, plump and completely healthy.
As their fur grew in, and they started to develop very characteristic orange bellies, it became clear that these were, in fact, Fox Squirrels! Fox Squirrels are the largest species of squirrel that lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and they're also a distinctive red-orange in coloring, which makes them easy to identify.
The video above shows our baby squirrels on August 4. They are still being bottle fed and stimulated to urinate and defecate, but they're very close to opening their eyes.
At the time of this video, Rachel, their foster care provider, was feeding them every four hours, but she no longer had to wake up throughout the night to care for them. At this age, baby squirrels get a feeding at midnight, and then not another one until morning.
You'll notice these videos are quite long in duration... that's because they were steamed live to Facebook viewers! "Like" WildCare's Facebook page to see our next livestreams! facebook.com/WildCareBayArea
They move from a small carrier to a larger wire cage and we start introducing them to the foods they'll eat as adult squirrels.
These young squirrels also have less and less contact with their foster care mom (or any humans), to make sure they become completely wild.
In the video above, you can see that Rachel's three orphans are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed! It is such a pleasure for WildCare staff and volunteers to see injured, helpless orphans like these squirrels were when they first arrived turn into such handsome healthy juveniles!
The next steps for these young squirrels will be to move from their large wire cage to a larger outdoor enclosure.
There they will develop their climbing and jumping skills, and learn how to build nests and crack nuts.
Once these young squirrels demonstrate that they are completely self-feeding and able to build a warm nest for sleeping, they will be released to the wild.